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Trump and DeSantis at Iowa Game; Lawsuit over Gun Order in New Mexico; Schools Struggle to Fill Openings. Aired 9:30-10a ET

Aired September 11, 2023 - 09:30   ET




JOHN BERMAN, CNN ANCHOR: Politics and passing, glad handing on the gridiron, the ground game, the literal one, and the campaign one on full display in Iowa before this big college football matchup. Donald Trump stopped at a frat house before the Iowa/Iowa State game. While Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, he visited several tailgates. Both candidates then went to the game, with Trump, and I think you can hear it here, getting a bit of a mixed reception with both cheers and some boos.

All right, with us now, Rhonda Colvin, senior political correspondent for "The Washington Post," and Heather Caygle, managing editor for "Punchbowl News."

And, Heather, look, this was in Ames. If there is a blue area in Iowa left at this point, this is pretty blue. Still, Donald Trump goes to a game, gets booed. Ron DeSantis, down in the crowd, shaking hands with people. What were the dynamics at play there?

HEATHER CAYGLE, MANAGING EDITOR, "PUNCHBOWL NEWS": Yes, John, I mean, I think the boos I'm not too worried about. Like you said, this is a pretty Democratic-leaning city in an overall red state, right. But I did think it was so interesting that former President Trump was up in the suite, kind of above it all during the game, and then Ron DeSantis, like you said, was down mingling in the crowd, taking selfies with potential supporters. He also sat with Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds, which I think is really important to point out.

She has said that previously that she's not going to endorse in the primary, but then more recently we've seen her leave herself a little bit of wiggle room in case she does choose to do so. President Trump and his supporters have went after her for not immediately backing him. So, I think the fact that DeSantis was hanging out with the Iowa governor, which was also really, really interesting.

And just the two of them. Trump is above -- he's leading double digits in these polls, so maybe he can afford to be in the suite, whereas Ron DeSantis is really trying to play catch up here. So he really needs to be out with these, you know, fans and crowd and kind of get people to know who he is and get to know them better.

BERMAN: Rhonda, I want to ask about what appears to be some grumblings within the Republican -- hang on one second, friends.

We're going to go to the Pentagon for the moment right now. It is, of course, September 11th. And at the Pentagon, which was struck that day, there is now a moment of silence. Let's listen in.


All right, that was "Taps" at the Pentagon commemorating September 11th, the 22nd anniversary of that day. You can see Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin there and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Mark Milley. Throughout the morning we will be marking these moments as they take place in Washington, here in New York City, and in Shanksville, Pennsylvania. So, stay with us for that.

In the meantime, back to politics. I was speaking with Rhonda Colvin and Heather Caygle about the campaign trail and some grumblings within the Republican donor class that, to a certain extent, Donald Trump may be running away with it.

Now, Rhonda, these are some of the same donors who were never really 100 percent with him back in 2016, but there's a quote in "The New York Times" this morning to this effect with one Republican donor, Fred Zidmen (ph), told Nikki Haley apparently, "you're at 2 percent, he's at 53 percent. He ain't going to erode that much. Something needs to happen to him for you to overtake him."

What's the important thing to take into account here when we're talking about all these moneyed supporters of the Republicans?

RHONDA COLVIN, SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT, "THE WASHINGTON POST": Well, when you hear donors like that speak like that, and there were multiple donors quoted in that article, you see the unease that some members of the Republican donor groups have with Donald Trump, but they are also confronting the reality that he is far ahead in the polling in Iowa and New Hampshire and he has this popularity that they just can't break through. So, that comment that he made about Ambassador Haley being behind, that is the reality that they are all trying to confront.

One of the unique things that's going to be really interesting to watch here is that Donald Trump, for his last few runs, has always been very good at grassroots fundraising. In fact, I looked at some FEC data from over the summer. Over 80 percent of some of his small donor -- or some of his donations came from small donors. That's less than $200. So, you're seeing a lot of strength there at the grassroots level. So you almost wonder, will his campaign even need these big donors. But right now they are showing some concern about him potentially being the eventual nominee and what that also means for some of the down-ballot races, the Senate and the House races.

BERMAN: Heather, the House back in session after like a six-week vacation. Man, I've got to get that schedule. Kevin McCarthy is facing perhaps what is the hardest stretch yet of his speakership. Can he navigate through this?

CAYGLE: Yes, absolutely, John. I mean in many ways this has been building since January when it took him 15 votes to even get the speakership. He made a lot of deals with conservatives on the far right that are kind of coming home to roost at this point. And it's hard to square that with what moderates in his conference want. He only has a four-vote margin in the House. He's working with several absences this month. And there are also just demands that conservatives are making in order to get their votes to keep the government open. They want an impeachment inquiry into Joe Biden launched this month. They want more border funding. They don't want to fund Ukraine.

And so McCarthy is coming into this -- House Republicans will meet for the first time in six weeks, like you said, long time, they'll meet together Wednesday morning. And McCarthy is going to make a pitch to them. He's going to say, look, I need a little bit more time to negotiate.


I want to do a short-term funding bill when the government funding runs out at the end of this month. I want to do a short-term bill until about mid-November. I think that will strengthen my hand.

Remember, he's working with a Democratic Senate, a Democratic White House. But the problem is a lot of conservatives don't want to give that to him, you know, and they're not afraid of a government shutdown. They've been kind of talking openly about it happening at the end of this month. So, this Wednesday conference meeting, we'll be watching it very closely.

BERMAN: Fireworks pending.

All right, Heather Caygle, Rhonda Colvin, thank you both very much for being with us.

CAYGLE: Thanks.


KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: Coming up for us, we are going to focus in on New Mexico, where a recent string of deadly shootings has prompted a big move by the state's governor. A move that has already sparked a lawsuit by gun rights advocates. What's going on there? We'll take you there.

And Hurricane Lee, that storm continues to churn as it's moving north through the Atlantic. And while its trajectory, final trajectory, remains a big question, southeastern portions of the United States will be seeing dangerous beach conditions created by the storm already today. We're going to bring you the latest forecast, next.



HARLOW: This morning, a legal battle over guns is escalating in a big way in New Mexico. Gun rights advocates are now suing the state's governor over her bold moves -- it happened last week -- declaring gun violence a public health emergency Thursday and then Friday she issued an order suspending open and concealed carry of firearms in public in Albuquerque and some of the neighboring areas.

CNN's Nick Watt is following this. he joins us now.

Nick, what prompted the governor to make these moves now and what's happening now with this lawsuit?

NICK WATT, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, Kate, the final straw seems to have been the fatal shooting of an 11-year-old boy outside a minor league baseball game in Albuquerque Wednesday night. The governor also cited the deaths of two other children in the past couple of months and two mass shootings in the state earlier in the summer.

Now, New Mexico has about the third worst rate of gun fatalities in the nation. The governor says that, listen, when it gets to a point where New Mexicans are afraid to be out in crowds, afraid to take their kids to school, afraid to leave a baseball game, then, quote, "something is very wrong."

So, there are now metrics. And if an area reaches certain grim stats, then these new orders kick in.

Take a listen to the governor.


GOV. MICHELLE LUJAN GRISHAM (D-NM): We have far too many ER gunshot visits and we have far too many crimes involving firearms. We are suspending open and concealed carry. The purpose is to try to create a cooling off period while we figure out how we can better address public safety and gun violence.


WATT: And, Kate, you mentioned that there is huge opposition to this. In fact, two state reps have actually called for the governor to be impeached. And also there's an issue over how this will be enforced. The county sheriff has said, listen, I understand the gravity and the urgency of this situation, but basically you, the governor, are asking me to challenge the Constitution, and I swore an oath to uphold that.


BOLDUAN: Yes, let's see what happens now.

WATT: Yes.

BOLDUAN: It's good you're on it, Nick. Thank you so much.


SARA SIDNER, CNN ANCHOR: All right, U.S. schools are facing a severe teacher shortage, and that's causing less than ideal learning conditions for students. We'll tell you how they are coping, coming up next.



SIDNER: There's a big problem facing a growing number of schools across the United States, a major teacher shortage. Packed classrooms, permanent substitute teachers and virtual learning again are becoming more common as school districts scramble to try to figure out how to fill those open teaching positions.

CNN's Gabe Cohen is joining us now.

Gabe, I'm just curious about how the -- how the students are dealing with this and the teachers, frankly.

GABE COHEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, look, Sara, a lot of schools are entering the year already in crisis mode, scrambling to find qualified teachers in a climate where more and more are leaving the profession and fewer are getting into it. And so more schools are now having to get creative.

Look, we visited Lancaster, Texas, where the public school district has turned to doubling up some classes, fifty kids in the room, because there's only one certified teacher available at that time. They are also moving some courses online. They've contracted dozens of classes with a virtual learning company, including an algebra class that we sat in on that was being led by a teacher a state away, over in Louisiana. And we've heard from several of those online learning companies that told me, more and more districts across the country are now turning to those programs because of the shortage. And the impact of those band-aid solutions is really being felt right now by students and the districts.


JANIYA ARMINGTON, STUDENT: Previously, like before we got into this online class, we didn't really have a teacher. It was just assignments and like notes.

KATRISE PERERA, LANCASTER ISD SUPERINTENDENT: It's nerve-racking to not have a staff member in a classroom. But I know that we've been allowed to think outside the box.

KAYLA COOPER, STUDENT: I feel like the problem is just getting worse instead of better. It's kind of like sad because I want to learn.


COHEN: And with teacher turnover rising and fewer teachers entering the profession, a 33 percent drop over a decade, many districts are now hiring what are considered underqualified teachers. Look, one in 10 teacher positions are either vacant or filled by someone uncertified for that subject according to the Learning Policy Institute. And at least 23 states, Sara, have lowered certification standards to get teachers into classrooms more quickly. So, bottom line, there is serious concern from education experts that

the quality of teaching is taking a hit, Sara, at a time when students need even more support as they continue to recover from that pandemic learning loss.

SIDNER: Yes, there's so many things to say here, having family members who are teachers, going through all this, it is very difficult. And to hear that child say, you know, I just want to learn, I - it's so upsetting to see what's happening in this country when it comes to education.

Gabe Cohen, thank you so much. Appreciate you.


BERMAN: All right, Hurricane Lee gaining strength. This could be an historic storm. What the northeast needs to watch for.



SIDNER: Today, America reflects and remembers the horrors and the heroes of 9/11. We are now just 30 seconds away from another moment of silence.

BERMAN: Twenty-two years ago today, at 9:59 a.m. Eastern Time, the south tower fell.

Let's listen to a live ceremony in New York.